Contemporary art enthusiasts who eschew art history and the work from other cultures in favor of solely focusing on the present miss a critical link in understanding current art. Artists continually mine the past. Recognizing the use of and nuance from antecedents is part of the appreciation and pleasure of contemporary work.
This approach is in clear evidence in the wonderful Richard Jackson Retrospective currently on view at the Orange County Museum of Art through May 5. Although I had not previously been a fan of the work, this show won me over. Imagination and an unconventional spirit infuse the pieces. The exhibition is filled with innovation, bold execution and plenty of artistic connection to both antecedents and contemporaries. Take pleasure in the nod to Jacques-Louis David, Duchamp, Pollock, Keinholz, Richter, Nauman and others.